February 17, 2016
Alum’s choir wins second Grammy Award
CIM alum Ryan Downey (MM '11, Billions) sings bass with the Phoenix Chorale, which just landed its second Grammy Award on Monday night. The album, Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil performed by the Phoenix and Kansas City Chorales, both led by conductor Charles Bruffy, won for Best Choral Performance. And Downey was in attendance for all the award-show festivities.
Downey and about 40 of his colleagues were able to celebrate their win at the 58th annual award ceremony in Los Angeles. “It was a pretty surreal experience. I knew that when I joined Phoenix Chorale, I would have the opportunity to sing with a group with a long history of excellent music-making, but I never expected to be a part of a Grammy-nominated album, let alone win,” said Downey. “It’s actually pretty funny, I don’t really remember much about the announcement. Sitting with many of the members of the Phoenix Chorale, I remember a lot of screaming and hugging, but nothing very vivid—it was one of those moments that happen in a blur.”
The night was complete with a red-carpet walk and after party. Although this was Downey’s first strut down the crimson walkway, the Phoenix Chorale celebrated its second time at the award show, having won a Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance in 2009.
Downey is in his fourth season with the Phoenix Chorale. “The entire process, from the first rehearsals to now, has taken about 2 years and the hard work definitely paid off,” he said.
Downey is currently pursuing his DMA at Arizona State University, where he also received his bachelor’s degree in voice performance. During his time at CIM, he won the Elizabeth Stoeckler Stevens Prize in German Lieder. Downey has worked with Michael Tilson Thomas, Warren Jones, Lori Laitman and George Darden. He also sings with the Trinity Cathedral Choir and True Concord in Tucson.